There are times as we parent our daughters that red
flags gently wave and remind me to pay attention. Whether this
happens at school, church, or in our neighborhood, my
husband and I must stop, consider, and make the best
decisions for the situation at hand. We cannot protect our
children from all pain and suffering, but we don’t ever want to
invite these things into their lives through the doors of our own
inattention, self doubt, or discomfort around “rocking the
boat” in any particular social interaction. It is quite the delicate
balance, but I have learned the hard way that it begins with a
commitment to listen to my gut.
As we own our parts, the goal is not to beat ourselves
up or to live in a constant state of regret. Honesty and self-
awareness are critical, but they are just one step in the direction
of healing. One day I had an “aha moment” as I conversed
with a trusted family therapist. She had used the term “good
enough parent,” first coined by Dr. Donald Winnicott, on
several occasions. But on this day a light bulb went off inside.
Her paraphrased message went something like this. “Even if
you could be a perfect parent, and we all know that isn’t
possible, it is truly best for your child if you are only good
enough.” A wave of grace washed over me. It is even better for
my child when I am simply good enough rather than when I
waste energy pursuing elusive perfection. This invitation to
stop pressuring myself relieved internal tension and a
committed pursuit of good enough parenting ensued.
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